THE junior member of a masked gang who raided, traumatised and stole £700 from a 90-year-old Rowley Regis man has been jailed.
The gang also carried out a spate of raids in Oldbury and West Bromwich which included confronting two young children in one home.
Craig Tucker, from Hartlebury Road, Oldbury, has been jailed for two years but the more experienced gang members are still at large.
The 26-year-old had been of "positive good character" but a reliance on hard drugs sent him into crime.
Judge Michael Dudley told Tucker, who wiped away a tear as he was sent into custody: "You were persuaded, against your
better judgement, to join this gang after being introduced to hard drugs."
He said the young children must have been left highly traumatised when confronted by raiders whose faces were covered adding: "It is true others did the breaking in but you went along with it."
Tucker admitted two burglary charges and he asked for four other similar offences to be taken into consideration at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
Mr Phillip Beardwell prosecuting said the gang got away with over £1,300 worth of property from a house in Borough Crescent while
they took goods and cash valued at £2,500 from a house in Thurston Crescent - both homes in Oldbury.
He said Tucker was part of a team who wore disguises as they targeted the houses but it was accepted he was a "junior partner in a joint enterprise."
The raids were all planned, added Mr Beardwell, with the gang using a variety of tools to gain entry to the properties including a
Mr Andrew Jackson defending said drugs became a problem for Tucker and they resulted in him losing his employment.
He said: "There was a degree of pressure on him and this was undoubtedly gang activity but he played a subsidiary role.
"The more experienced criminals involved in these burglaries have escaped punishment. Tucker is now free of controlled drugs - he has managed to break away from the habit."